Saturday 18 November 2017

Bill Cosby's 35 accusers speak out in New York Magazine

The magazine's striking cover
The magazine's striking cover

By Bonnie Malkin

Thirty-five women who accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault have told their stories in an unprecedented thirteen-page photo essay in New York Magazine, covering dozens of accusations against the comedian and the backlash they have faced.

On the magazine's striking cover, the women are seated on stools in three rows, in black and white.

The publication of their accounts of alleged rape and sexual assault represents the first time so many of Cosby's accusers have presented their stories together and in detail.

One of the women who speaks out in the article is Barbara Bowman, who says she was raped as a 17-year-old actress.

“Listen, he was America’s favorite dad," she told the magazine.

“I went into this thinking he was going to be my dad. To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick.

“It was hard for America to digest when this came out. And a lot of backlash and a lot denial and a lot of anger.”

The article details case upson case of women being drugged after drinking wine and having little control over what happened to them in the hours that followed.

The stories are frighteningly similar, with women recounting details of rapes and sexual assaults while unable to fight back. Afterwards, many described feeling powerless because of the fame and reputation of the man they had accused.

Ms Bowman wrote: "I felt like a prisoner; I felt I was kidnapped and hiding in plain sight. I could have walked down any street of Manhattan at any time and said, ‘I’m being raped and drugged by Bill Cosby,’ but who the hell would have believed me? Nobody, nobody."

But that sense of powerlessness is finally receding.

Tamara Green told the magazine "In 2005, Bill Cosby still had control of the media. In 2015, we have social media. We can’t be disappeared. It’s online and can never go away.”

Cosby has denied all of the allegations.

The article comes after president Barack Obama, responding to a question about the allegations against Cosby, issued a strongly-worded statement on sexual consent, without mentioning Cosby by name.

“If you give a woman – or a man, for that matter, without his or her knowledge – a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape,” Mr Obama said.

Most of the allegations against Cosby cannot be prosecuted because they fall outside the statute of limitations for these kinds of crimes, because they took place several years, and decades, ago.

It emerged earlier this month in court documents that Cosby admitted in 2005 that he had obtained sedatives with the intention of giving them to young women with whom he wanted to have sex.

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